SEATTLE — The Latest on the city of Seattle’s decision to settle with a police officer who contested her firing (all times local):
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes is defending the police department’s decision to settle with a white officer who contested her firing over her arrest of an elderly black man.
Officer Cynthia Whitlatch, an 18-year-veteran, was fired for arresting then-69-year-old William Wingate in 2014. She claimed he had swung a golf club at her cruiser; he said he had been using the golf club as a cane and adamantly denied swinging it at her.
Whitlatch was fired and a federal jury awarded Wingate $325,000 after finding the officer engaged in racial discrimination.
The police union challenged the firing, saying it violated contract provisions requiring that discipline be imposed within 180 days. The union said police should have opened the investigation in September 2014, when two commanders learned of the matter, not in January 2015.
Holmes says that was a debatable point, and the city settled to ensure that Whitlatch would not win her job back in arbitration. Instead she receives $105,000 in back pay.
The Seattle Community Police Commission is questioning the $100,000 payout given to a former Seattle police officer who was fired over her arrest of an elderly African-American man.
The Seattle Times reported (http://bit.ly/2gpSP2y) Thursday that the commission is seeking a meeting with Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and City Attorney Pete Holmes and has requested documents related to the payout settlement.
Former Officer Cynthia Whitlatch, an 18-year police veteran, received the settlement after she appealed her firing for biased and overly aggressive policing.
Whitlatch who is white, denied race played a role in her decision to detain then-69-year-old William Wingate in July 2014. Whitlatch accuses Wingate of swinging a golf club toward her patrol car. Wingate maintained he never swung the club.
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com